Did you have a good fandom year? I sure did. I was fortunate enough to become the Editor of FAN/FIC Magazine, for which I personally wrote 27 articles about craft, culture, and community. I also won NaNoWriMo by writing the third instalment of my Drarry fanfiction (currently unpublished). Finally, I discovered Supernatural and, after watching all eleven seasons, joined the nuttiest (and most kickass) fandom on the Internet.
These are all fandom-related things I accomplished this year, some of which I planned for and some that unfolded spontaneously. With the advent of another year, it’s a great time to start looking ahead to what sorts of fandom goals (foals?) you have for the new year.
Goal-setting is an important (and undervalued) part of a healthy lifestyle. Working hard to achieve a goal, and the pride that comes with accomplishing it, can be a wonderful boost to our mental health. The problem is, there are no college classes on how to set proper goals for ourselves. This usually results in people setting unrealistic goals (too many, too difficult, too vague) and becoming discouraged when they fail to achieve them.
It’s time to start writing down actionable items for the year. Here’s how to set (and keep) effective goals:
Only Pick a Handful
See how many fingers are on your hand? That’s how many goals you should have – five. One surefire way to ensure you don’t get much accomplished is to divide your time between too many projects. Instead, pick five things to focus on this year and write them down… now! Keep it simple for now. In the next step, we’ll figure out how to turn these items into “smart” action plans.
Make Them SMART
Everyone hates those cheesy corporate acronyms. But this one is really effective and important. I promise. Take each of the five goals you wrote down in step one and make them “smart.” In other words, craft your goals so they meet five different criteria:
- Specific – Be clear and concise. Leave no room for interpretation or excuses.
- Measurable – If possible, quantify what you plan to achieve. Giving yourself a way to define and measure your goal is an important step in tracking your progress.
- Actionable – Start every goal with an action verb (e.g. “write,” “finish,” “publish,” “draw”).
- Realistic – Getting out of your comfort zone is important. However, you have to also make sure you are setting realistic goals that can be achieved if you push yourself.
- Time-Bound – Set a “by-when” date. A timeline is essential for holding you accountable to your action plan.
Write Them Down
Goals that only exist in the ether are not goals at all. Not only is it inevitable that you will forget about their parameters, it will keep your goals as abstract dreams. Writing down your goals sets an actionable plan in motion. However, writing them down is not enough. You must review your goals. Frequently. Post the list on your wall and review them weekly. Ask yourself what the next step is toward achieving them and set that step in motion.
Share Them Or Not
There are debates to whether or not sharing your goals is an important motivational step. Some say that telling people about your goals helps hold you accountable to their completion. Personally, I find the opposite to be true. I find that letting people know about your goals acts to immediately deflate the creative spark behind their intent. In addition, I find stress and self-doubt more easily creep into my conscious when people ask me about my goals, especially when I haven’t yet achieved them.
What are your fandom goals for 2017?